Takumar now and then
Historically the Takumar brand, when applied to M42 screwmount lenses, stands for high quality build and optics, SMC Takumar lenses despite their age can yield excellent results when used with an M42 to PK adapter on modern pentax DSLRS, unfortunately Pentax brought the Takumar brand back into use for certain budget lenses, predominantly in the A and F series.
Takumar Bayonet, Takumar-A, Pentax-A and Pentax-F(without the SMC badge) lenses are generally similar in appearance to the SMC optics but with substantially different optical formulae and lower quality lens coatings.
From time to time listings appear for SMC lens models which don't actually exist, whether by accident or through wilful misrepresentation sellers sometimes list these non SMC lenses incorrectly. If you see such a listing It's worth sending the seller a message, more often than not they'll be happy to correct the listing and glad to have been saved from potential disputes with buyers.
Things to look out for
Make sure that you can see the full barrel inscription in the photos, if the photos show Pentax and the focal length but you can't see SMC anywhere then make sure you check with seller exactly which lens you're dealing with before bidding.
Not all bad
Of course just because a lens happens to be a cheaper non-SMC version doesn't mean that it wont produce perfectly acceptable results for your purposes and at a bargain price. I've personally been deeply unsatisfied with results from the Pentax-A 1:4 70-200mm when used on a digital body, i didn't find it nearly so bad on film bodies though and just for a cheap lightweight way of trying out a long telephoto zoom you may find it suits you.
Pentax lenses: SMC vs Takumar and non SMC Pentax-A
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5 June 2007
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